The former "One Tree Hill" star became close friends with Willie after they co-starred in U.S. TV show "White Collar". And following the actor's passing, Hilarie took to Instagram to tell her followers she's planning to "see through" her promise to help her late pal get his debut book on the shelves.
"We were together in 2019 while I was in the final edit of my book," Hilarie explained. "He came to play on a movie I was producing…elevating the material, always. We talked a lot about memoir, this weird industry, our families. He'd been toying with an idea for a book. An accounting of his career as a character actor. As someone who benefited from hours of Willie's stories over countless dinners, I loved this idea."
"So he did it. He wrote the book. And recently he asked if I'd help his family get it published for his son Nathen. It is a love letter to our industry, to storytelling and to the hundreds of people he worked with and made better over the decades."
"To Willie's family, especially @nathen_garson , …on my honour I will see it through. You have been so generous in sharing him with the rest of us. Love you."
Hilarie also revealed she had added to her tattoo collection with a design to honour Willie, who is reported to have passed away after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.
She had the words "calm down" inked on her forearm as a tribute to her friend, and explained, "He would pay you the biggest compliment in the world. Tell you that you were the smartest or prettiest or most talented or that your book/show/recipe/charity, etc mattered and was valuable. And right as you'd blush, he'd temper it with 'alright, calm down!' And then laughter. He'd stop you before you could rebuff the compliment. Calm down. I can hear him saying it."